How to become a chef in New Zealand

1 July 2023
How to become a chef in New Zealand


Why become a chef?

Chefs prepare and cook food in restaurants, hotels, catering businesses, rest homes, cafes and bars.

There are no specific requirements to become a chef. However, a cookery qualification is useful to learn practical techniques, food hygiene, and health and safety. Becoming qualified may help chefs gain or progress into more senior cookery positions.

Chefs need to have a good sense of taste and smell. They also need to have a reasonable level of strength, fitness, and stamina as they often have to carry heavy items, such as bulk ingredients, and spend long hours on their feet.

There are a variety of specialisations for chefs, including a commis chefs working in all areas of the kitchen, a chefs de partie are in charge of one section of the kitchen such as fish or pastry, sous chefs are second-in-charge, and head/executive chefs are responsible for the whole kitchen. Chefs may specialise in different cuisines such as French or Japanese.

Alternative job titles

Sous chef
Head/executive chef
Commis chef
Chef de partie


Understanding the best way to become a qualified chef in New Zealand looks complicated but is easy. Here are the steps you need to take to start your career as a chef.

Step 1

Choose and enrol with a registered training provider.

Step 2

Complete in a level 3 certificate program in cookery.

Step 3

Progress to level 4 certificate and then a 5 diploma program in advanced cookery.



Average Pay

$40k - $65k annually



Length of training

1-3 years



Available Jobs:


*TradeMe Jobs, April 2022

  • Reliable

  • Able to work well under pressure

  • Able to work well in a team

  • Willing to learn new cooking methods, recipes and menus

  • Organised, quick and efficient, while still being patient and careful

  • Creative and open-minded

  • Able to follow instructions

  • Good at planning

  • Good at communicating and managing people.

  • Restaurants

  • Hotels

  • Cafes

  • Bars or taverns

  • Corporate catering firms

  • Restaurants

  • Cafeterias

  • Childcare centres.


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